Rugby union-bound South Sydney superstar Sam Burgess admits he thought his NRL career may have been over when he was forced from GIO Stadium on Monday night due to a shoulder injury.
Burgess and Rabbitohs captain John Sutton were injured in their team’s 34-18 demolition of the Raiders. The English forward feared the worst before scans in Sydney on Tuesday cleared him of any ‘‘serious damage’’ to his right shoulder.
The 25-year-old, who will join Bath at the end of the season with the hope of forcing his way into the England team for next year’s World Cup, has a history of shoulder problems.
‘‘I think I know my body pretty well, I have had two shoulder reconstructions on each side so I know when something is wrong and I felt last night that something wasn’t quite right,’’ Burgess told Channel Seven.
‘‘I was a bit upset last night, obviously this year means a lot to me personally and a few of the boys as well. But from what we have seen so far it doesn’t look to be as serious as what was first thought. I don’t think it is going to finish my season, which is the positive thing.
‘‘I have tried to go out with as much respect as I can to sort of show the fans that I have been committed. We have got a few guys leaving, myself included so fingers crossed this injury doesn’t hold me back for too long and I can get back out there.’’
Burgess and Sutton, who suffered medial ligament damage and may require surgery, returned to Sydney for treatment on Monday night before the rest of the team.
Both were named in the Souths team to play Newcastle in Cairns on Sunday, although Sutton is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks once he gets the results of further scans.
Coach Michael Maguire said he expected Burgess to play.
‘‘We got lucky on this one, I guess, with Sam and he is looking forward to obviously playing on this weekend,’’ Maguire said. ‘‘There is a little slight strain, I think through his shoulder, but it is one of those injuries that you can actually play on with. He said he is keen to play so that is a good sign.’’
Knights captain Kurt Gidley will replace the injured Jarrod Mullen (abdominal) but fullback Darius Boyd remains on the sidelines after admitting himself to rehabilitation due to depression.
Meanwhile, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has moved Jamie Soward to halfback and called up rookie five-eighth Will Smith after losing skipper Peter Wallace for the season with a knee injury. Cleary welcomes back winger Josh Mansour and David Simmons, as well as back-rowers Sika Manu and Adam Docker but NSW Cup forward Shaun Spence has been stood down for the season after repeated concussions.
Elsewhere, NSW Origin centre Michael Jennings returns for Saturday night’s match against St George Illawarra in place of the injured Mitch Aubusson (ankle sprain). Star back-rower Sonny Bill Williams is out for three to four weeks with a fractured thumb. Queensland prop Matt Scott will make his comeback for the Cowboys in Saturday’s match against Gold Coast after missing Origin III with a fractured cheekbone, while his Australian front-row partner James Tamou has been named despite picking up a neck injury last weekend.
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has made three changes to his team to play Manly on Friday night, with Daniel Vidot and Jack Reed returning to the starting side on the wing and Jake Granville on the bench.
Shaun Johnson and Feleti Mateo return for the Warriors.